Penang Street of Harmony Project celebrates mutual tolerance illustrated by this amazingly cosmopolitan microcosm.
– Anwar Fazal takes us for a walk down the Street of Harmony in Penang.
The island of Penang, Malaysia, has long been a magnet for a multitude of people from all over the world and has over the last two centuries succeeded in integrating countless cultures and religions into its very fabric.
Penang is very special. It was a place that opened up for all the communities of the world. That particular special flavor, sometimes in many places in the world, is all too often lost over history. But in Penang, uniquely, it continued.
There is much Penang can teach the world today about acceptance and harmony in diversity.
* * * Walk down the streets of Penang with Anwar Fazal. | View: https://vimeo.com/219493364
It would be most interesting for those of us looking in from outside, to see a “Naming Names” chart, which identifies those individuals, political groups, companies, financial groups, captive media, and lobbies who from all appearances have taken over the governance process in Penang in a variety of vital areas, and moved the decision process over radically to a consistent, unsustainable, inequitable and inefficient model of environmental, economic, and social development.
Including of course all of those outside forces ready at the drop of a hat to support the lack of a strong model for a Sustainable Penang.
Anybody up for taking a first stab at this, which can then perhaps be extended and articulated as part of an open collaborative process?
In a conversation about one of the critical issues and decision points being set out in my forthcoming collaborative book, “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City” — namely the fundamental structural importance of the climate/transport link — I was told yesterday by a well-placed person in Malaysia that no one in Penang or indeed Malaysia (or for that matter pretty much anywhere else on our gasping planet) takes climate change seriously. At least sufficiently seriously to even consider changing their daily transport choices (which it just happens is what my book is all about.).
This year’s program combines site visits, brainstorming sessions, conferences, presentations and vigorous questioning, looking, listening and co-learning with my esteemed long time Taiwanese friends and colleagues.from 22 September to 4 October. Among the main events and presentations:
Out there in the real world life is a complex interactive system in which things do not exist in isolation but depend heavily on each other. As Miller and Scott put it: “A complex adaptive system is a system in which a perfect understanding of the individual parts does not automatically convey a perfect understanding of the whole system’s behavior”. Which means that if our goal is to create a strong and wise policy for sustainable transport in and around our cities we need to change our tools and perspective as well as our behaviour. As the Brundtland Report, “Our Common Future” told us already a full generation ago . . .
The following is taken from the peer review edition of the forthcoming book “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City“. For a copy drop a line to betterchoices@ecoplan,org.
Whether or not congestion is “good” is one thing. But what is for sure is that one way or another congestion is policy, or at the very least a policy option. And in some cases quite possibly a wise one.
Now this has been said many times by many people in many places, yet despite its incontrovertible wisdom the message continues to get lost on policy makers. So in cases like this, we have to take a page out of the book of good people who sell us iPhones and cars, and keep repeating our message.
Today let’s hand over the podium to Kent Strumpell from Los Angeles and see what he had to say on our subject in LA Streetsblog back in early 2008. To this reader it has lost none of relevance over almost a decade. Read on. Continue reading
Battle Royal: Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses
It was late Spring 1958 (as I best recall) in New York City when a young Eric Britton, just out of the US Army and about to dig into the Graduate Faculties of Columbia, was – as young men will do — checking out the action in Washington Square Park in the Village on a warm day. When he ran into two little kids wearing a sandwich sign saying something like “Save the Square!”. The kids handed me a pamphlet and explained that they were there to help their mother, who was just over there (they pointed).
And that was how I first met Mrs. Jane Jacobs, hard at work on an at-first very lonely effort to save this precious bit of NYC public space from the depredations of Robert Moses plan to run an urban highway extension of Fifth avenue over the concrete remains of what would once have been a beautiful and much used public park. It was clearly going to be a losing cause, but she decided to stick it out. And as she did others, unknowns and celebrities, gradually started to get behind her cause.